Goof Troop
  • Genre:
    • Action Adventure
  • Platform:
    • SNES
  • Developer:
    • Capcom
  • Publisher:
    • Capcom
  • Released:
    • US 07/11/1993
    • UK 11/25/1993
    • JP 07/22/1994
Score: 85%

This review was published on 01/10/2016.

Goof Troop is an overhead action adventure video game developed and published by Capcom for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Famicom. It was originally released in North America on July 11, 1993, Europe on November 25, 1993, and Japan on July 22, 1994. The game is based on the Disney animated television show of the same name, which stars Goofy and his son Max as they live a normal suburban life together. This was the first game designed by Shinji Mikami, who is now considered to be the father of the survival horror genre due to creating the Resident Evil series. Interesting facts aside, not too many magazines reviewed the Goof Troop game back when it was new. That's okay, though, because the game now enjoys a cult following thanks to the Internet. In any case, this game plays a lot like The Legend of Zelda series, particularly A Link to the Past. There are even some sections that look like they were ripped directly from that game, like the castle area. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that. Other than that, the Goof Troop game is a marvelous blend of puzzle solving and action that is made even better with its splendid two player co-op mode.

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Goofy and Max live together in a city that goes by the name of Spoonerville. The citizens of this city must really like spoons or something. Their neighbors are Pete and PJ, another father and son duo that also happen to be their best friends. Well, sort of; Pete is always taking advantage of Goofy's gullibility, but deep down inside, he's a good fellow... maybe. Anyway, the weather was looking mighty fine one day, so Goofy and Max decide to take this opportunity to partake in the popular father and son bonding activity of fishing. Pete and PJ went along, too, except they took a much nicer boat. The fishing trip was interrupted, however, when Pete and PJ were suddenly abducted by pirates and taken to their headquarters on Spoonerville Island. Instead of notifying the authorities, Goofy and Max embark on a tropical adventure to save their neighbors from pirates. This is certainly more exciting than fishing.

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You control either Goofy or Max, depending on which character you select at the start of the game. Both of them play mostly the same, though there are some minor differences, like Max being able to run marginally faster when he isn't carrying anything, and Goofy does more damage to enemies. Aside from walking around and talking to non-playable characters, lifting objects is your primary ability. You can lift rocks, barrels, potted plants, and just about anything else that isn't nailed down. Once an object has been lifted, it can be carried around until you decide to throw it, at which point, the object in question will usually break. Because Goofy and Max can't normally hurt enemies on their own, they must resort to throwing stuff at their foes. There are other roundabout methods of murdering enemies, too, like kicking special blocks into them or knocking them into pits. Grabbing fruits will allow Goofy and Max to take a single hit before dying, and if enough are collected, they'll gain extra lives. The controls are tight and simple, although Goofy's sluggishness can sometimes be annoying.

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Items play a central role in this game. Throughout their pirate themed adventure, Goofy and Max will stumble upon various tools that will help them deal with enemies and solve puzzles. Once an item has been picked up, you'll be able to use it whenever you want until you discard it or complete the current area. These items include a grappling hook that pulls objects toward you, a bell that lures enemies toward the user, a shovel that digs into the ground to reveal hidden items, and more. The catch, however, is that you can only carry and switch between two items at a time, and you'll often need more than that to get past certain sections of the game. This means that you'll have to make hard choices on which items to bring along and which to leave behind. The choices are never too hard, though, because you'll usually be able to return to the area where you left behind an item and pick it up again, exchanging it for whatever you're currently holding. This simple form of resource management adds a bit of strategy to the game without bogging it down too much, which is nice.

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Unlike the Zelda games, there is no interconnected overworld to explore. Instead, the game is broken up into five separate stages. However, each stage does play like a Zelda dungeon, in that puzzle solving and minor exploration are both absolutely essential for progress. Solving puzzles will generally result in a gate opening, which either bars the path forward or holds a necessary item, like keys that open locked doors or wooden planks used to cross gaps. The design of the stages is also slightly nonlinear, with some of the paths leading to optional goodies like fruits and extra lives. The layouts never get too confusing, though, so it never takes long to figure out where to go. That's a good thing, because there's no map. Sometimes there will be friendly islander folk that will give you more tidbits about the plot and game play hints if you talk to them. For the most part, however, the vast majority of entities you encounter will be hostile, such as pirates and violent wildlife creatures. This leads to a good mixture of puzzle solving and action that never gives the player an opportunity to get bored. There's also a password system to let you continue from the last stage you did, which is mighty convenient.

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Puzzles are the name of the game in this game. Following a similar format to Zelda, there are two main types of puzzles in this game: beating all enemies on the screen or moving blocks around. The most prevalent puzzle in the game involves kicking blocks onto imprints or switches on the ground. The challenge comes from the fact that kicked blocks will continue to slide across the ground until they hit an obstacle. If you ever get stuck on these, you can reset the positions of the blocks by reentering the room. Many variations of these puzzles exist, most of which add stuff to increase the difficulty. One puzzle has you kicking blocks onto switches to deactivate statues that are shooting fireballs at you, adding an element of danger to the proceedings. Another one involves blocks that detonate after a while, giving the whole thing a sense of urgency. Yet another has you luring a bunch of enemies together with the bell so that you can defeat them all using a single block. These puzzles are extremely challenging, but also extremely satisfying. There are quite a lot of them, though, so they may get tiring after a while.

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Surprising absolutely no one, every stage ends with a boss fight. Like the regular enemies, defeating bosses usually entails throwing things at them. Bosses tend to like throwing things at you, too. This results in a crucial mechanic in which you need to grab the object thrown at you and then toss it back at the recipient. In order to catch thrown objects, you must press the grab button to make Goofy or Max hold their arms up in the air, then intercept the object before it hits the ground. When successfully accomplished, this action makes you feel like a boss. Some objects can't be grabbed, though, like spiky balls. The bosses get fairly hard later on, making up the majority of the game's difficulty. They're all reasonably decent, but some of the later ones take too long to kill, resulting in battles of attrition.

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Two players can team up to solve puzzles cooperatively, with one taking control of Goofy and the other one controlling Max. A second player can join at any time by pressing the start button on a second controller, even if the game was originally started in single player mode. The rules do slightly change in two player mode, though. First off, each player can only have a single item at any one time. This is a pretty big change, because it forces both players to coordinate their efforts when it comes to inventory management. Additionally, if one of the players loses all of their lives, they will get a chance to come back again if the remaining player can reach another screen. That makes it easy to jump right back into the action, ensuring that both players will never get bored from prolonged inactivity. You can also test the limits of your friendship by throwing stuff at each other, but this doesn't do any actual damage. Basically, the co-op turns this game from good to great.

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When Capcom and Disney combine, their power is sublime. The graphics, music, and controls have the polish you'd come to expect from a good Capcom game, the puzzles are clever, the boss battles are fun, and the co-op mode is freaking fantastic. If you enjoy solving Zelda-like puzzles minus the big overworld, then this game is made for you. The game is fully playable and still highly enjoyable alone, but the true fun lies in the co-op mode. You really should find a way to play this with a friend, because it's loads of fun. Don't goof this troop.

Word Count: 1,591